World leaders squirm as Iran summit turns tense


news.yahoo.com

A showpiece summit hosted by Iran stumbled as soon as it opened on Thursday when the head of the UN pressed Tehran on its nuclear stand, and Egypt’s new leader publicly sided with Syria’s opposition.

The double challenge, before the leaders and delegates of the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement, upset Iran’s plans to portray the two-day summit as a diplomatic triumph over Western efforts to isolate it.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei opened the event with a speech blasting the United States as a hegemonic meddler andIsrael as a regime of “Zionist wolves.”

He also stated that his country “is never seeking nuclear weapons” and accused the UN Security Council, under US influence, of exerting an “overt dictatorship” over the world.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who looked irritated at Khamenei’s remarks, shot back that Iran should boost global confidence in its nuclear activities by “fully complying with the relevant (UN) Security Council resolutions and thoroughly cooperating with the IAEA,” the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

He warned about the current state of bellicose rhetoric coming from Israel and Iran, saying “a war of words can quickly spiral into a war of violence.”

Egypt’s new President Mohamed Morsi — making the first visit to Iran by an Egyptian head of state since the 1979 Islamic revolution — in turn embarrassed his hosts by voicing support for the opposition in Syria, which is fighting the Damascus regime unwaveringly backed by Iran.

“The revolution in Egypt is the cornerstone for the Arab Spring, which started days after Tunisia and then it was followed by Libya and Yemen and now the revolution in Syria against its oppressive regime,” Morsi said.

That contradicted the line put out by Damascus and Tehran, which assert that the Syrian uprising is a “terrorist” plot masterminded by the United States and regional countries.

Morsi’s address prompted a walkout by the Syrian government delegation and drew a sharp response from Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, who accused the Egyptian leader of inciting further bloodshed in Syria.

Iran’s state media failed to mention the contentious parts of Ban and Morsi’s speeches in their coverage of the summit.

The summit to-and-fro over Iran’s nuclear ambitions had its roots in an unusually frank meeting Ban held with Khamenei and Ahmadinejad after arriving on Wednesday.

Ban told them Iran needed to provide “concrete” steps to ease the international showdown which has raised the spectre of airstrikes on nuclear facilities, threatened by both Israel and the United States.

Tensions have been raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency unveiling a new Iran “task force” to scrutinise Tehran’s nuclear programme and its compliance with UN resolutions.

Additionally, the latest IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear progress was expected to be released this week — possibly even during the Tehran summit.

The report is said to highlight expanded enrichment in Iran and suspicions concerning an off-limits military base in Parchin, outside Tehran, where warhead design experiments might have taken place.

Ban, whose presence at the summit had been criticised by the United States and Israel, also took Iran’s leaders to task for recent comments calling Israel a “cancerous tumour” that should be cut out of the Middle East. He urged both Iran and Israel to cool the bellicose language.

“I strongly reject any threat by any (UN) member state to destroy another, or outrageous comments to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust,” Ban said in his summit speech.

“Claiming another UN member state does not have the right to exist or describe it in racist terms is not only utterly wrong but undermines the very principles we have all pledged to uphold,” he said.

“I urge all the parties to stop provocative and inflammatory threats. A war of words can quickly spiral into war of violence. Bluster can so easily become bloodshed. Now is the time for all the leaders to use their voices to lower, not raise, tensions,” he said.

A total of 29 heads of state or government are attending the Tehran summit, including those of Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, Sudan, Qatar and Zimbabwe.North Korea was represented by its ceremonial head of state, parliamentary president Kim Yong-Nam, rather than the country’s leader Kim Jong-Un.

  1. #1 by NAeem on August 30, 2012 - 4:25 pm

    Their is major pressure on mursi from sunni’s who believe the mainstream media view of syria if he bowed to iran he would have been labelled a sellout whats more important is he doesn’t support a no fly zone nor flooding of arms into syria. Remember assad’s clan came into power because of the colonialist french and likewise in bahrain the khilafah’s were brought into power by the british. What is happening today is a battle between various sects about lands that were redesigned by colonialists.

  2. #2 by Bob on August 30, 2012 - 6:04 pm

    The nature of Syrian society has always made it easy prey for the “divide and conquer” strategy. Mursi is trapped between his Sunni fundamentalist ideology and loyalty and the political realities of the strategic situation in the region. If he supports the Assad regime, he strikes a blow to the primary threat to all Arabs (the Israelis), but this means undermining his Sunni co-religionists in Syria which would run counter to his own deeply held ideology. On the other hand, by coming out in support of the Sunni “rebels” seeking to overthrow minority rule by the Alawite Assad he makes himself a useful tool of the Zionist enemy. This is treacherous ground and Mursi may not have the political instincts to traverse it while avoiding these kind of traps… To be honest, I believe he would have been better off to have remained silent on the issue.

  3. #3 by Jim on August 30, 2012 - 9:21 pm

    Oh well, so much for Mursi. He didn’t have to be there; he was probably sent by the US with the message. Ban too.

  4. #4 by Bob on August 30, 2012 - 10:42 pm

    I wouldn’t be so quick to write Mursi off. His views are genuine and I don’t believe that he is a willing tool for anyone. The Secretary-General on the other hand is a handpicked stooge carrying water for TPTB. Even so, the fact that he would make such a public statement, and while he was actually in Iran, reveals not only breakdown in diplomatic decorum, but also the desparation of TPTB as the see the impending collape of their entire charade.

    The Iranians are in the drivers seat and they know it. Unlike Iraq, the Iranians are in a position to not only resist, but to impose serious economic pain on the West. They need not rely upon a military victory, they win simply by not giving up. The sad truth that none of the talking heads in the Western media mention is that the Iranians could withstand a lengthy conflict, while the Western powers simpy cannot…at least not without suffering staggering economic damage.

    These people clamoring for “regime change” in Tehran should understand that a full blown conflict in the Persian Gulf which lasts more than a few months will be much more likely to bring regime change in Washington and London than it is in Tehran.

  5. #5 by Gary on August 30, 2012 - 11:45 pm

    Unfortunately the Arabs are usually their own worst enemy. If they all banded together, israhell would vanish in a heartbeat.

  6. #6 by Ingrid B on August 31, 2012 - 1:04 am

    now we know where Morsi stands..

    “Tensions have been raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency unveiling a new Iran “task force” to scrutinise Tehran’s nuclear programme and its compliance with UN resolutions.” :

    Why only Tehran?

    “I urge all the parties to stop provocative and inflammatory threats. A war of words can quickly spiral into war of violence. Bluster can so easily become bloodshed. Now is the time for all the leaders to use their voices to lower, not raise, tensions,” he said.” :

    The problem with the above is, the parasitic entity already deals in bloodshed, and violence..

    @Jim, I agree..
    @Naeem, isn`t it time to stop with the Sunni/Shia rhetoric, and think “Syrian”?
    Bob says :”To be honest, I believe he would have been better off to have remained silent on the issue.” :

    I agree.. He was in China, cementing ties, both political, and financial/business, in order to improve the Egyptian economy, but, I suppose, until that happens, he has to “earn his keep” from the US, and try to stay afloat..

  7. #7 by wad on August 31, 2012 - 2:47 am

    Jim is right,

    Mursi wors for the zionist beast, lock stock and PAID FOR.
    Right now egypt has major water and electrical power shotages, his job is to further strangle egypt.

  8. #8 by Isaac on September 2, 2012 - 12:20 am

    Morsi is another pig, another Zionist controlled puppet who wants money on top os decency.

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